In September, I took what was supposed to be a week off Instagram but what turned into three months instead. When you temporarily disable your account, it gives you 10 options as to why:

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“Just need a break” is the one I chose. Admittedly the thing I needed a break from most was sabotaging my relationship, but I figured one way to do that was to give my mind a break from constantly comparing my life to the lives of others. I’m not blaming Instagram for my relationship woes, it’s shitty decisions I make on my own with all of the self-awareness needed to stop them that was the problem. What I’m saying it that my head is full of nonsense at baseline, so I thought it would be nice to stop the external input of further nonsense for a while.

Aside from one or two times reflexively opening the app only to be bummed when I remembered the sabbatical I had taken, I didn’t really miss it. And that’s probably because I was able to get my scrolling fix elsewhere. My Facebook involvement remained relatively the same, and that’s at less than one open a day. I’m not sure what it is about Facebook nowadays but I don’t care much for it. Is it for an older generation? Or maybe it’s because I mostly only keep it for career-related purposes. My Twitter engagement also remained relatively the same which is nil — I’ve never been an avid tweeter, mostly just a lurker.

My need to scroll ended up being satisfied by the news app. I suddenly knew all about the impeachment inquiry in the states, the close race between liberals and conservatives in Canada, and about the eleven elephants that died trying to save a baby elephant from drowning in the Haew Narok Waterfall at Khao Yai National Park in Thailand. After that first week I felt as if I could contribute to the conversations that were being had in politics. I felt like I had an opinion and that it could be backed up by facts. I felt like the break was helpful. But, I also felt like none of that mattered.

And the reason it didn’t matter, was because I realized there was only one thing or rather person I could rightfully blame. Instagram wasn’t ruining my relationship. Instagram wasn’t keeping me from reading. Instagram wasn’t keeping me on my phone. Instagram wasn’t keeping me from being productive. No matter what distractions I remove from my phone, I could always find a new way to procrastinate. Keeping up with the news was simply a way to give my procrastination an air of pretension. Bottom line, I found out that the thing I “just need[ed] a break” from, was not holding myself accountable.

Now excuse me while I go onto my two different Instagram accounts to promote this blog and my podcast @thescriptisbetter. What? It’s not procrastination, it’s work!

Roll over and hit the home button on my iPhone. No notifications? Whatever. Enter passcode and open Instagram to see if the photo of that inspirational quote I posted before I went to bed hit at least 20% of my followers. Nope. 12 likes. Resolve that the next photo must be a surefire hit: my cat or a selfie. Correction: selfie with too much makeup. Scroll Instagram and like the first five photos I see.

Hit my inbox next. Eight new emails? Holy moly, Ms. Popular. Oh. Nevermind. Six are from Screenwriting Blogs and Festivals I subscribe to and two are UGG outlet spam emails that I can’t for the life of me stop receiving. Check junk to see if anything important accidentally got filtered there. Just an Urban Outfitters sale notification. By no means junk but I hide it there as a means of wallet preservation. Next up is Facebook messenger. I scroll through a muted work thread and find nothing important but feel a twinge of satisfaction by being kept in the loop in little spurts of my choosing.

Last is Facebook. Notifications include a casting notice for a non-union project seeking “really funny comedian-caliber models who are real people, relatable, but with an edgy style.” I then spend a few minutes staring at my headshots wondering which one meets the breakdown. The answer? None. But I send one anyway. I spend more time than I’d like to admit scrolling through my newsfeed watching videos posted by a mixture of my Aunt, coworkers past and present, and some guys I’m pretty sure I never met.

Productivity: zero. Self-worth: low. Addiction: all time high.